Today in Leinster House: June 13, 2012

AS WITH YESTERDAY, today’s Dáil business is largely taken up by occupying loose ends, meaning the meat of the day will probably be seen elsewhere – though there are still important bits and pieces being discussed at all levels.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Innovation – The day begins in Room 3, where Richard Bruton will discuss both the forthcoming meeting of EU enterprise ministers in Brussels, and also the particular problem of youth unemployment.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny steps up for the main pitches of the day from Micheal Martin, Gerry Adams and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad’s day is largely occupied with getting rid of some legislation – but first there’s the usual 75 minute open forum to raise anything and everything.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs get 30 minutes to sign off on their own agenda.

11:21am – Motion re Committee Stage of the European Communities Bill 2012 – One procedural, but landmark, bit of business to get through first: this 20-minute debate will formally tell the Committee on EU Affairs, which will tomorrow be discussing committee stage of the bill to ratify the ESM, that it can also formally approve the protocols to EU treaties which address Ireland’s concerns over the Lisbon Treaty (such as neutrality, abortion and the corporation tax rate).

11:41am – Motion re Renewal of Certain Provisions of the Offences against the State Act; Motion re Criminal Justice Act 2009 –  There’s 45 minutes set aside for two similar and related motions – each of them dealing with renewing the various anti-terrorist provisions contained within criminal law, which require the Dáil’s assent to remain in place.

11:45am – Statements on the Seanad Report into the Rights of Older Persons – A report published back in March outlined various ways in which the Seanad recommended legislative changes in order to remove some of the legal barriers stopping full equality and rights for older people. Today will be the first chance that members will have to debate its findings and map out a way forward to implement its recommendations.

1:11pm – Companies (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage); Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill 2012 (second stage); European Arrest Warrant (Application to Third Countries and Amendment) and Extradition (Amendment) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) - The Dáil’s day is dealing with three pieces of miscellaneous legislation. The first updates the accounting standards required in corporate reports; the second formally establishes a new trust fund from which victims of institutional abuse could claim money for certain purposes; the third is a housekeeping piece allowing European arrest warrants to apply to countries which do not already.

2:00pm – Justice, Equality and Defence – Survivors of the barbaric practice of symphysiotomy – where a woman’s pelvis would be needlessly sawn open under the pretence of facilitating childbirth, often leaving them unable to walk or incontinent – speak to members in Room 2 to discuss their experiences.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) – Brendan Howlin is the minister on the rota for today’s questioning; he will face missives on re-hired retiring staff, preparations for Budget 2013, proposals to change funding for TDs and political parties, and the potential sale of Bord Gais (and Irish Water).

2:30pm – Foreign Affairs and Trade – Officials from the Foreign Affairs and Trade join the IFA president John Bryan to discuss the role that the Department of Foreign Affairs can have in stimulating international trade.

3:00pm – Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage) – After clearing the Seanad, relatively innovative legislation allowing people to write off previous criminal convictions (as long as they carried certain punishments, like a maximum fine) gets it first two-hour airing in the Seanad.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy items are discussed for 12 minutes apiece, with ministers on hand to respond.

4:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – With further hearings on the proposed whistleblowers legislation, Brendan Butler from IBEC and John Devitt from Transparency International Ireland are in Room 2.

4:33pm – as 11:21am – Debate resumes on the legislation dealing with roadworthiness and quango-bashing, until 6:30pm.

5:00pm – Private Members’ Business [Rónán Mullen] - Business Undertakings (Disclosure of Overpayments) Bill 2012 – Senator Ronan Mullen is the member with possession of the floor this week; his legislation would require:

…undertakings in receipt of overpayments to inform the payer of the occurrence of the overpayment and to facilitate the repayment of the overpayment; to permit the investigation of complaints concerning the non-disclosure or non-return of such overpayments; to create certain offences and to provide for related matters.

In essence, there is currently no law which requires someone who is accidentally overpaid to disclose or return the overpayment. A vote will be taken at 7pm.

6:25pm – Statements re Common Fisheries Policy Reform – Convenient timing, given overnight events: at 5am this morning, Europe’s fisheries ministers agreed to end the contentious practice of throwing surplus fish back off trawlers and into the sea. As it happens, Simon Coveney was already due to lead a discussion on proposed CFP reform – though this (assuming he gets back from Luxembourg, and gets a chance to nap) is now a chance for a victory lap.

7:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – With the three pieces of legislation taken care of, the Seanad discusses topical issues before calling it quits.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Motion re Planning Inquiries – Debate resumes on Fianna Fáil’s motion mandating the government to revive the six abandoned investigations into planning procedures at six non-Dublin local authorities, which were dissolved last year but are back in the spotlight post-Mahon. A vote will be called at 9pm.

All of the day’s business can be viewed on our streams: